Was Chuck Berry's Song "My ding-a-ling" ignored by Radio While it was a Hit Song?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by houston, May 2, 2009.

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  1. Wilkie

    Wilkie New Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    I can confirm that individual community standards were in control of not only its airplay, but its retail availability as well, at least to a certain extent. We distributed the single to all of our one-stop accounts that ordered it, but for our rack-job accounts (titles were selected by us), we knew better than to sell this record in certain areas.

    We racked several department store chains from New Jersey to the Carolinas in 1972. Not all of them carried 45s, but all of the G. C. Murphy stores and Murphy's Marts did, and in the Bible Belt we had to be very careful about recordings that would offend their customers. By 1972 we had already established which stores NEVER would get any controversial releases. These were the locations that wouldn't allow us to put Beatles records in their stores a few years earlier.

    I'm sure other rack-jobbers supplying product to other stores were doing the same thing. Just like individual store owners who made the decision not to offend their customers, and just didn't carry this record.
  2. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    "My Ding-a-Ling" got plenty of airplay in the Toronto - Hamilton area.

    I have come to enjoy the song. I was fairly neutral at first, but after a while I realized that the guitar and bass sounded really cool, so I warmed up to it. This is all the more anomalous considering I'm not a fan of live acts. You never can tell, indeed.

    I still don't own a copy, however.

    Obviously the purists hate it because it was the only Berry song to hit the #1 spot. I guess that's similar to why I can't stand that December 1963 song by the Four Seasons, it was huge although it was just garden variety '70s junk, while their '60s songs (including the #1s) sounded far better.
  3. semi-real

    semi-real New Member

    Bangkok, Thailand
    I'm actually on this single, I think. Recorded live at the Lanchester Arts Festival in the UK. I didn't like Chuck Berry then, and don't like him now. I only went to the concert because a friend was on the committee and I got a free pass. I saw Pink Floyd do Echoes in quad on the same ticket.
  4. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    The thing is, instead of giving Berry a second shot at life, this song pretty much closed the box on his career. Depending on how old you were, you either saw this as the definition of Chuck Berry (if you were too young to remember his earlier material), in which case he was a silly novelty act, or as desperate pandering (if you were older and knew him from the greater hits).

  5. It was overplayed in LA as well.
  6. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    His Ding-A-Ling!

    I grew up in Michigan and I remembering hearing this song so frequently that I came to hate it (and I still do).

    A real low point for Chuck Berry.

  7. signothetimes53

    signothetimes53 Forum Resident

    Burlington VT USA
    I never heard it, not even once, on radio in New England, and I was not only an avid radio listener, I got my first job as a DJ working on the radio in 1972.

    As bad as the song is, however, that same album served up a hotter-than-a-pistol version of "Reelin' and Rockin'" that I adore to this day.

    My favorite line, which never fails to make me burst out laughing:

    We boogied in the kitchen, we boogied in the hall, I got some on my finger and I wiped it on the wall!

  8. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA
    You must have been one of those people who "will not sing", and to whom Chuck dedicates his last verse!
  9. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA

    I disagree. Chuck did have another, much-better single after "My Ding-A-Ling", "Reelin' And Rockin'", which peaked at #27 in early 1973, a sign that the kind of straight-ahead rock 'n' roll he perfected was less in demand than a novelty number that tickled people's fancy like "My Ding-A-Ling". Even Elvis never returned to the Top Five after "Burning Love".

    I think by the early 1970s, the book had been closed on a number of rock's pioneers. Chuck wasn't looking at a lot of hits in his future, whether or not he released that song. "Ding-A-Ling's" exposure got him and his older songs some deserved renewed attention.
  10. theoxrox

    theoxrox Forum Resident

    central Wisconsin
    My Ding-A-Ling got played a lot in central Wisconsin "back in the day," which probably didn't make a lot of parents too happy.
  11. joelee

    joelee Senior Member

    "My Ding-a-Ling" and "Reelin' and Rockin'" gotta lotta play during summer '72 in Houston.
  12. phenri

    phenri Forum Resident

    St. Louis, MO
    I never once heard this song in the Chicago area when I was growing up. I wasn't even aware of the song until my late 20's.

    Burning Love, on the other hand, I heard a lot and it became my favorite Elvis song.
  13. Drawer L

    Drawer L New Member

    Long Island
    No.See post #21.Yes,WWDJ played it,but WABC only played it for three days(AFTER it was #1 both nationally & on WWDJ)--WABC program director Rick Sklar said it was also only played after 9PM.NYC's other AM, WNBC,I seriously doubt that they ever played it....It was played here on Long Island on WBLI(FM)---I reluctently admit,it was the first 45 I ever bought.I was 6.....I now of course have about 5,000 45s........
  14. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA
    I heard it growing up, and I lived in Greenwich, CT, so WNBC must have played it if WABC didn't. Mama didn't let me listen to no FM.
  15. Drawer L

    Drawer L New Member

    Long Island
    Oh,OK.Just that 'NBC was more of a mor-leaning Top 40 station at that point,though I can see Imus playing it...(Wolfman Jack too,but he didn't start until 9/73.)--What about WICC,Bridgeport?
  16. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA
    Imus for sure was playing it. His catch phrase at the time was "Are Yuh Naked!" A song like Chuck's was right up his alley.
  17. eriejwg

    eriejwg Active Member

    Erie, PA
    Amazing a station as legendary was WLCY would ignore Chuck Berry's hit in '72 and "Joy To The World" - Three Dog Night. Understood about the squabble with the label, but Joy WAS the #1 song of 1971.
  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Yeah, I knew a few jocks at WLCY during that period, and they told me that was one of the biggest scandals at the station. The PD was pissed-off that a rival station got "Joy to the World" three days prior to WLCY, so decided to "punish" MCA by omitting the song. Somehow, that didn't stop the song from rocketing to the top of the charts.

    I think it was around that time that WLCY-AM started to fade, eventually making way for Q105 and other FM rock stations of the mid-1970s.
  19. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    Now there's a song I can't stand! A billion times more annoying than "My Ding-a-Ling" ...

    Actually I'm no fan of Elvis's "Burning Love" either.
  20. rene smalldridge

    rene smalldridge Senior Member

    I remember it being played to death around here and once was more than enough for me.
  21. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    They played it here too.

    I imagine they refused to play it on mostly southern stations.
  22. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    when they did the 1986 chuck berry tribute shows that resulted in the film, keith richards' condition that he would be musical director for the concerts was that ding a ling would not be included in the setlist. at the nyc show with a very different back up band, we were not so lucky.
  23. spanky1

    spanky1 Forum Resident

    East Tennessee

    THis also happens to be the way the Charles Barkley says that word. Just turr-ble
  24. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    It was on heavy rotation in Charlotte NC. It was unfair to Chuck Berry that this was his last big hit. The original by Dave Bartholomew (sp?) is much better.
    seed_drill likes this.
  25. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    I still can't believe that this song was his one and only number one single.
    Adam9 and Mister Charlie like this.
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